Astronomy in the Amazon

by Astronomers Without Borders
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    $635 with 3 backers
    on March 25, 2016
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Bringing astronomy education to the teachers and students in the Amazon

  Outreach, Astronomy

Astronomers Without Borders is running a global fundraising project called the BIG (Big Impact Giving) Project. The aim of this program is to help organisations and clubs raise funds to help them achieve their astronomy-related goals. These are microfunding campaigns, where the value is limited to a maximum of $500 USD (plus fees and charges). For a lot of clubs a small amount of money can make a big difference.

Astronomers Without Borders would like to thank  Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes for sponsoring this campaign and providing a telescope at a discounted rate.


The following is from Professor Nélio Sasaki. Professor Sasaki is the head of NEPA -Nucleus Teaching and Research in Astronomy, at Amazonas State University. NEPA does Research in Astronomy Education and addresses general issues of Education in Astronomy. In the Amazon the only way for many students to get to the school is by water [by boat]. NEPA works with these students in their schools and gets them on campus for further activities.

What we need:

We need a solar telescope to show indigenous students in the Amazon the closest star to us, our Sun. 

Why we need it:

I have a telescope for night time viewing, which was bought with my own resources. I take it to schools and use it at night so that students and teachers could observe the night sky. Here in Brazil, the night classes run from 19h to 22h. Thus, students who attended in the morning and afternoon were disadvantaged, because they could not see the night sky in their study period.

Many students live in regions that are on the margins of rivers, and can only get to and from school by boat, so after they leave school they could not come back for evening sessions. As a result of these difficulties I got the idea to do observations of the daytime sky. The problem is that we do not have a telescope to see the sun. My current telescope is not able to be safely adapted for day time viewing, and give the students enough detail. 

Astronomy activities for children run by the NEPA team

Who we are:

In 2012, I started teaching at the Amazonas State University (UEA). When I got here, there was nothing about astronomy. So in 2013 I founded NEPA [in English it means Nucleous Teaching and Research in Astronomy]. at NEPA we promote scientific literacy, science communication and astronomy education.

NEPA TeamThe NEPA team

The goals of NEPA are:

1. To promote research in astronomy education, which will be used to train teachers and students in the public school system.

2. To promote scientific literacy.

3. To promote inclusive education (working with special students, with Down syndrome, speaking students in sign language, etc.)

4. To promote the dissemination of science and technology through astronomy education.

5. Teaching and preserve Indigenous Astronomy.The NEPA is headquartered in Parintins, an island in the Amazon International.I work with indigenous students.

Our work:

We run programs for children from 4-17 years old. We work with indigenous students, children with disabilities, teachers and the general public.

Children visiting the University campusChildren visiting the university campus

We do not have astronomy books here. So NEPA produces booklets of Astronomy in Portuguese and indigenous languages ​​of our region. In addition to those materials prepared in sign language.

Today we serve 11 cities in the Amazon, which corresponds to an audience of 110 000 teachers and students from public schools. We also have activities where students are brought by NEPA to university. It is an opportunity that students have to learn more about the university. In schools NEPA runs: lectures, training courses in astronomy, didactic and para-didactic material on Astronomy, astronomy workshops, astronomy fairs, and observation of the night sky with our single telescope.

Astrronomy for teens and adults

  Budget Breakdown

$629 Coronado PST - Solar Telescope

Exciting News! Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes has offered to sponsor this campaign and is selling us the Coronado PST for the very discounted price $500. 

$98 AWB expenses and Fiat Physica fees (8%),

Total = $598.


  Risks and Challenges

One challenge we will face is getting the indigenous  students to look through the telescope at the Sun. To them it is their Sun-God. 

Our activities will be able to reach a lot more students if we acheive this goal, if not we will be limited to night time viewing and a number of students will miss out.


Astronomy in the Amazon

Bringing astronomy education to the teachers and students in the Amazon